Archive for the ‘interview’ Category






Comment on this post for a chance to win a $10 Amazon gift card. Each commenter will be entered, and the FAVORITE INTERVIEWEE will win one as well.


I’ve done 29 interviews this year on CHAT THURSDAY and it’s time for you, MY READERS, to vote on your favorite. So here, in no particular order—just kidding, in chronological order—are my interviewees this year.



12-Jan                 Susan Reinhardt


19-Jan                 Danele Rotharmel


26-Jan                 Celesta Thiessen


2-Feb                   Robin Hendzel Bunting


9-Feb                   Robin Johns Grant


16-Feb                 Robin Patchen


18-Feb                 Robin Carroll


23-Feb                 Robin Bayne


25-Feb                 Robin Lee Hatcher


2-Mar                  Dana Pratola


9-Mar                  Elizabeth Noyes


23-Mar                Karen Sweeney


4-May                 Carrie Schmidt


18-May               Teresa Tysinger


25-May               Valerie Comer


1-Jun                   Dawn Kinzer


8-Jun                   Annette Irby


15-Jun                 Sandy Ardoin


22-Jun                 Angie Arndt


29-Jun                 Terri Weldon


6-Jul                    Don Brobst


13-Jul                  Peter Leavell


20-Jul                  C. Kevin Thompson


27-Feb                 Steven James


24-Aug               Character Interview – Tante Eléanore


31-Aug                Character Interview – Mercedes


14-Sep                 Tommie Lyn


16-Nov                Character Interview – Adrién Fontaine


30-Nov               Character Interview – Scarlett Sheehan




I’ll tally the votes after the first of the year and post the results on Tuesday the 9th.



#Blogwords, Chat Thursday, Who’s Your Favorite


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“I had accepted what I was, accepted my fate. I’d never be free. No matter Mercedes had paid double Fontaine’s price, no matter he was dead and had no hold on me.

            No, my fate was carved out long ago. Lissette had wooed me, tutored me, shaped me. I didn’t know how she did it, but she did. I could hear her calling to me…



Fontaine’s death should have lifted the darkness from me, should have served to free me from his grip. Certainly the fear that had held me so long had vanished. But the misery he suffered—I had failed to bring him peace. I had failed to show him the gossamer wings.

            Those same ethereal wings evaded me, as well, abandoning me to my fate. Instead the oppressive black shadowy wings cloaked me like a thick fog, like a spider web.




rem:  Bonjour, Scarlett, bienvenue. It’s lovely to chat with you today.

SCARLETT:  Oh, I thank you for inviting me, Madame. You’re so kind.

rem:  Please call me Robin.

SCARLETT:  Yes, ma’am—Robin.

rem:  Your life was turned upside down when you were very small. Can you tell us about that?

SCARLETT:  I think you’re talking about when ma mère died, and oui, it quite turned my life upside down. I was so little then, just five years old, and I didn’t understand all that had happened.

rem:  Your father left Saisons, is that right?

SCARLETT:  He did. They all left. I was told Mamá had gone away. I suppose they thought that kinder than trying to explain death to me. But Avalina—my sister—was taken away, too, and grandmère et grandpère went away with Papá. They were all suddenly gone.

rem:  I’m so sorry, Scarlett. How awful for you.

SCARLETT:  Merci, Robin. I was a very scared little girl.

rem:  And Tierney was charged with your care, correct?

SCARLETT:  Oui. She was our cook and I was very confused. But she was kind to me. She treated me well if not… affectionately.

rem:  She really cares deeply for you.

SCARLETT:  Oui, yes, she really does. She always took such great care of me. She let me go play when I know she shouldn’t have.

rem:  You and your friends are close, are you not?

SCARLETT:  smiles We truly are, even now—even after what Mercedes did. laughs

rem:  Your life was turned upside down a second time, too, correct?

SCARLETT:  You mean when Simone died? Well, when we thought she died.

rem:  nods That was traumatic for you and your friends.

SCARLETT:  I had terrible nightmares for weeks, and I wouldn’t go near the water.

rem:  What about Versailles?

SCARLETT:  Oh, no. I didn’t go back there for years. Not until Simone had returned.

rem:  Scarlett, it’s as though you’ve been caught in an undertow in your life. Tell us about the third time you were turned upside down.

SCARLETT:  laughs Mercedes, bless her soul, tried to save me from— I don’t suppose I should say too much, though, should I?

rem:  Quite right. But you fought her on it, didn’t you?

SCARLETT:  blushes I did, oui.

rem: Why was that?

SCARLETT:  I felt she was wrong. I didn’t believe it would last.

rem:  And Fontaine?

SCARLETT:  I knew he would come for me. He would find me and take me back to Bastille.

rem:  I’m so glad it didn’t turn out that way.

SCARLETT:  As am I, Madame. As am I.

rem:  You are a most accomplished fashion designer, Scarlett. Congratulations.

SCARLETT:  Yes, well, I thank you. It was most unexpected, actually.

rem:  How so?

SCARLETT:  It was a hobby, really. I only drew pictures of Mamá’s dresses when I was a little girl—to remember her. And then I started drawing new dresses.

rem:  I believe some were deemed rather scandalous.

SCARLETT:  laughs Yes, I suppose so. I never liked the horrible corsets and my dresses were looser. So much more lovely.

rem:  All of your gowns and dresses are lovely, Scarlett.

SCARLETT:  blushes Merci.

rem:  Thank you so much for visiting with us today.

SCARLETT:  And I thank you ever so much for telling my story.










““Scarlett, Fontaine told me of his… treatment of you. And he was riddled with guilt. We talked much in his last days, he and I.” Stephen turned to look at me then. “And we prayed. Together.”

            “You prayed with him?”

            “I did.” He tucked his finger underneath my chin, lifted my face to his. “And he prayed too. He asked for forgiveness. He asked me to tell you. He wanted to ask your forgiveness.””




#Blogwords, Chat Thursday, The Tilting Leaves of Autumn, Seasons Series, Character Interview, Scarlett Sheehan

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“This taste of freedom was divine. Even if I knew it could not last. Fontaine would come for us and he would demand that we return home. He needed us. He needed me.”


““Fontaine… He is my father”— I clapped my hand over my mouth but it was too late. Mercedes and Simone had both heard me. And their eyes were pools of horror and confusion.”


rem:  Bonjour, Monsieur, bienvenue. It’s lovely to chat with you today.

FONTAINE:  Yes, well, I thank you for asking me.

rem:  Can you tell us about your first wife?

FONTAINE:  stares

rem:  I’m sorry…

FONTAINE:  Non, it is good. She was… always smiling and singing, and shining bright, like a star to me. I never knew her to say a derogatory thing about anyone, not even when…

rem:  It’s okay, Monsieur.

FONTAINE:  Merci. She was brave when it happened, kind even to him—she forgave him.

rem:  She sounds like a remarkable woman. It takes a strong character, and integrity to forgive something so vile.

FONTAINE:  She was truly remarkable.

rem:  I know she died young. Can you tell us about that?

FONTAINE:  pauses

rem:  I know it’s painful. I’m so sorry, Monsieur, for your loss.

FONTAINE:  Oui. It was my sister, she was very ill—mentally. Women’s hysteria they called it.

rem:  I know she was very unstable. They call it bipolar now, manic depressive.

FONTAINE:  She would sit in her room and sing to herself, rocking back and forth like a small child. Then for no reason she would become violent.

rem:  She was treated with laudanum, correct?

FONTAINE:  She was, yes, when she would take it.

rem:  How did she die?

FONTAINE:  I never knew, but I suspected foul play.

rem:  I’m so sorry for your loss, Monsieur.

FONTINE:  Merci, but the loss of my sister was no great loss.

rem:  No, I’m sure it wasn’t. pauses What of Scarlett?

FONTAINE:  She was… closes eyes … most precious to me, a delight. The spitting image of sa mère.

rem:  That must have been painful, to see her grow up, looking so like sa mère.


rem:  When you returned from France—

FONTAINE:  I was wrong.

rem:  What happened?

FONTAINE:  Lissette—my sister—had created more trouble and disturbances. I was there to help settle her.

rem:  And Scarlett?

FONTAINE:  I left her. To be safe.

rem:  But she wasn’t safe, Monsieur.

FONTAINE:  I’m not proud of it. paces I didn’t want it to happen.

rem:  She forgave you. Did you know that?

FONTAINE:  Stephen told me.

rem:  And you found peace, n’est-ce pas?

FONTAINE:  I did, oui.

rem:  And Scarlett is happy now.


rem:  You look weary, Monsieur.

FONTAINE:  Yes, it’s wearying business. My sister. And Scarlett. My beloved Esther.

rem:  Monsieur, I thank you for visiting with me today. I know it has been difficult.

FONTAINE:  I thank you, Madame. You are most gracious and kind.









“ “Scarlett, Fontaine told me of his… treatment of you. And he was riddled with guilt. We talked much in his last days, he and I.” Stephen turned to look at me then. “And we prayed. Together.”

            “You prayed with him?”

            “I did.” He tucked his finger underneath my chin, lifted my face to his. “And he prayed too. He asked for forgiveness. He asked me to tell you. He wanted to ask your forgiveness.” ”




#Blogwords, Chat Thursday, The Tilting Leaves of Autumn, Seasons Series, Character Interview, Adrién Fontaine

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“Mountains in my heart…sand in my shoes.”

“As a Cherokee descendant and a citizen of the Cherokee Nation, it’s probably not surprising that some of my stories focus on that part of my heritage.”


rem:  Hello, Tommie, welcome to my little nest. Tell us a little about yourself. Where were you raised? Where do you live now?

TOMMIE:  I was born and (mostly) raised in Dalton, Georgia. I live in the Florida panhandle now, in Milton, near Pensacola.

rem:  Oh my goodness!!! Irma came awfully close to you! Tell us three things about yourself.

TOMMIE:  First of all, I’m a retired grey-haired great-granny. Secondly, I was a PK (preacher’s kid) and that has influenced my life in ways that I’m very thankful for. Thirdly, my husband was a career Navy man, and our travels gave me lots of varied experiences, plus, we met people who have become lifelong friends.


rem:  I’m a granny and there’s nothing like it!! ❤ Tell us about your Cherokee heritage.

TOMMIE:  I have Cherokee ancestors on both sides of my lineage, but it is my daddy’s lineage that is documented. His ancestors are listed on various Cherokee rolls. The roll that’s important is the Dawes Roll. His great-grandmother is listed on that roll, which allowed me to apply for citizenship in the Cherokee Nation. I and my sons are all citizens of the Cherokee Nation in Oklahoma.

My gr gr gr grandparents on my daddy’s side were marched off to Oklahoma on the Trail of Tears, along with their two toddler sons. They later sneaked back to the mountains, but the rest of their family stayed in Oklahoma. A cousin I met online has the letters they wrote back and forth from Tennessee to Oklahoma.

On my mother’s side, a Cherokee ancestor hid in a cave and was left behind during the Removal. A white family took pity on her and supplied her with food, etc. She later married Asa Thomason, my mother’s gr grandfather. I used this incident in my latest novel. An eight-year-old Cherokee boy was left behind when soldiers rounded up his family and marched them off to the stockade to be held there until the march to Oklahoma.

Alan survives because of his own tenacity and because people took pity on him.


rem:  Oh, how awesome that you were able to gain your Cherokee citizenship. Coffee or tea? Sweet or un? Flavored or not?

TOMMIE:  Coffee. And I like it black, no sugar, unless it’s iced coffee. I like my iced coffee with cream and DaVinci Sugar Free Vanilla Syrup.

rem:  I drink mine black too, even when I drink it cold but that sounds divine. What do you do as a hobby?

TOMMIE:  I write. Before I began writing (after I retired) I loved sewing, knitting, crocheting, macramé, tatting, gardening, orchid-growing…I had a wide range of hobbies. These days, I have one: writing.

rem:  I hear ya! It is all comsuming! What’s your all-time favorite movie? Favorite TV show?

TOMMIE:  Movie? “Overboard.” Television show? “Monk.”

rem:  I love both of those! Your movie snack of choice?

TOMMIE:  Popcorn

rem:  Slathered with lots of melted butter of course! 😉 What’s your favorite recent discovery?

TOMMIE:  Caldo Verde….Portuguese collard soup J

rem:  Are you named after someone?

TOMMIE:  Yes, I’m named Tommie after my daddy and his daddy.

rem:  It suits you… or perhaps, you suit the name. Do you use sarcasm?

TOMMIE:  Unfortunately, yes.

rem:  So do I, and proudly! Would you bungee ?


rem:  Moving on… What is the first thing you notice about people?

TOMMIE:  Whether or not they are friendly.

rem:  Yeah, that is important. Favorite season? Why?

TOMMIE:  Fall, because the tourists have gone home, it’s still warm, but the Gulf waters are clearer.

rem:  For where you live, that makes sense. Hugs or kisses?


rem:  Meeee toooo…..  Rolling stones or Beatles?

TOMMIE:  Neither

rem:  LOL Do you have a favorite Bible verse? And why is it a favorite?

TOMMIE:  Yes, Psalm 19:14 – “Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in thy sight, O Lord, my strength and my redeemer.” It’s the first verse I memorized as a child in Sunday School, so it was always my favorite. Psalm 51:10 is also a favorite — “Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.”

rem:  Oh, I love both of those. If you could spend an evening with one person who is currently alive, who would it be and why?

TOMMIE:  My hubby, because, even after almost 55 years of marriage, he’s still my best friend.


rem:  Tommie, that is so precious. What do you think is significant about Christian fiction?  How has being a novelist impacted your relationship with Christ?

TOMMIE:  There are a few Christian writers whose work I enjoy, but I don’t often read Christian fiction because so much of it is 1) romance, and 2) unrealistic.

I don’t know that being a novelist has impacted my life as a Christian. It would be more accurate to say my being a Christian has impacted my writing.

rem:  As it should be—our life in Christ should filter into every aspect of our lives. When reading, what makes or breaks a story for you? Your fiction pet peeve?

TOMMIE:  Unrealistic actions or responses by a character which I can tell were written to further the plot kick me out of a story. And my fiction pet peeve is when an otherwise good story gets ruined by the insertion of ugly language.

rem:  Yeah, makes the story unbelievable. Which is more important: plot or characters?

TOMMIE:  Characters are more important, because the plot grows out of who the characters are and how they react to life’s circumstances.

rem:  Never thought of it that way. What would you do if you weren’t writing?

TOMMIE:  Probably I’d be doing needlework or crafts or gardening.

rem:  I never did needlework, but I do enjoy crafts and gardening. What are you reading right now?

TOMMIE:  The Shark

rem:  Oooh, sounds interesting. What do you munch on while you write?

TOMMIE:  I don’t eat while I write, because I have to keep my hands on the keyboard J. If I want a snack, I take a break. As to what that snack would be, there’s just no telling…could be leftovers from supper. Could be popcorn. Could be crackers and cheese.


rem:  For some reason I’m craving popcorn… Tell us a little about your writing journey.

TOMMIE:  I always did well writing essays in high school and college, so I wrongly assumed I could write fiction. I tried writing a short story when I was in my early 20s, and it was pitiful, just pitiful. I tried again to write fiction when I was in my 30s. I wanted to write a fictionalized account of my grandmother’s coming of age story. It was pitiful, too. I decided at that point that writing fiction required a talent I didn’t possess. But I became friends with someone who told me of the experience of his Scottish ancestor who was a slave on a plantation near Savannah, Georgia. Say what?? No. No way was a white person ever a slave. He assured me that it happened. So I began doing research and discovered that he was telling the truth. There were Scottish and Irish slaves. I wondered why no one knew this unless, like me, they bothered to research it. So I decided to write about it, to let people know what happened. And my efforts were pitiful, as usual. But this topic felt too important to let it go, so I decided to take a couple of classes to see if I could learn how to write fiction. Those classes made the difference, and I was off and running.

rem:  Amazing when the right story grabs ahold of you! What is your Writing Routine? Where do you write: In a cave, a coffeehouse, or a cozy nook?

TOMMIE:  I write in my office, at my desk.

rem:  What makes you struggle as an author? How do you handle it?

TOMMIE:  I don’t often struggle, but when I do, I pray for His help in dealing with whatever is causing the struggle. And usually, the struggle relates to truths I’m not ready to write.

rem:  Truly, the best way to handle any struggle, at any time. Do you prefer the creating or editing aspect of writing? Why?

TOMMIE:  I really don’t have a preference. I like both parts of the process for different reasons.

rem:  I’m with you, Tommie. For me, they are integral. What do you enjoy most about being a writer?

TOMMIE:  For me, writing is almost as enjoyable as reading, because I almost never know where the story is going….it’s a process of discovery, like reading. I find out where the story is going as I write it.

rem:  Ah, a fellow pantser! What was the hardest thing about publishing? The easiest?

TOMMIE:  When I first published, writers had basically two avenues to publication…acceptance by a traditional publisher or paying a vanity publisher to print your book. Neither option appealed to me, so I searched out ways to publish my books myself. I even set up my own publishing company, Blackwater Books Publishing (which I later found was unnecessary). I was blessed that Smashwords and KDP and CreateSpace came along about that same time. There were almost no guidelines at that time, so I had to sort of blaze my own trail, to learn as I went along. It was simultaneously the hardest thing and the easiest.

rem:  Yeah, I remember that era. I first tried to publish 20 years ago. (it didn’t happen then) What are your top 3 recommendations for a new writer? What 3 things would recommend not doing?

TOMMIE:  First and foremost…know English grammar. A carpenter can’t build anything without proficiency in using his saw, hammer and other tools of his trade, and neither can a writer write without proficiency an ability to use the tool of his/her trade: a command of the English language. Secondly, don’t compare yourself to other writers. Each of us is different and has different things to say. Third, don’t give up when the going gets tough. Because things will get tough. As far as things not to do? Don’t say to yourself that grammar is overrated, it’s no big deal if I make a little mistake here and there. It is a big deal. Another no-no would be to compare your work to a best seller (guaranteed to discourage you). And don’t discuss your story with others until you’ve finished writing it, or you run the risk of running out of steam and having nothing more to say when you sit down to write.

rem:  I could not agree more on the grammar! I’ve read some that just made me wonder! How do you choose your characters’ names?

TOMMIE:  Sometimes they just come to me. At other times (especially for the historicals), I check sites for names that were popular during the time period I’m writing about.

rem:  Do you think of the entire story before you start writing?

TOMMIE:  No. I rarely know more than the next scene to be written. With the historical novels that I’ve written, I did know the backdrop, i.e., the historical events of the time in which the story is set, but the story itself? No.

rem:  Same here. Tell us a little about your latest book? What is your current project?

TOMMIE:  My latest book, “On the Red Clay Hills” is the fourth in my MacLachlainn series. It is set during the mid-1800s, and is about the survival of Alan McLachlan, a little Cherokee boy who was left behind when soldiers took his family members who were working in their cornfield and marched them off to a stockade to be held for the march to Oklahoma. The family members couldn’t speak English and the soldiers couldn’t speak Cherokee, so the family couldn’t make the soldiers understand there was a little boy who wasn’t present with them.

rem:  Oh, the poor boy! ;-(  What is YOUR favorite part about the book or why do you love this book?

TOMMIE:  I love the scenes between Alan and Pharaoh, a slave on Belle Montagne who rescued Alan and raised him in his home.

rem:  Tell us about why you wrote this book.

TOMMIE:  When I wrote, “High on a Mountain,” the first book in this series, I had no idea of ever writing anything else. I had only wanted to tell that story. But one morning when I was sitting in a hospital waiting room while my husband had a heart cath, three additional titles came to me instantly…” Deep in the Valley,” “Across the Wide River,” and “On the Red Clay Hills.” I had no idea what each story would be, I just knew I had to write them. And since I’d written the first two sequels, it was time to write the last one.

rem:  Oh, I love that! Please give us the first page of the book.




North of Chattanooga, Tennessee, Early Summer 1839


Michel McLachlan crouched behind the outcropping of rock and listened until the sound of horses faded. He could have watched the group of riders, could have peered through the crevice between the boulder and the rocky face of the hillside, concealed from view by the thick greenery of summer foliage. But if any of those horses had been one of his own that the soldiers had stolen when the Tsalagi were rounded up for the long march to the west, he might have not have been able to contain his rage.

He knelt, brought his hands to cover his face and prayed Creator would forgive the anger in his heart, would help him endure the injustice with patience.

To the soldiers, his horses had represented money. They didn’t know or care that he had loved his animals and they had loved him.

As he prayed, the anger faded. But the ache that was ever present grew and filled his spirit. The heartache was most of all for his Nancy, who lay beside the big river in a cold, shallow grave. But he also hurt for his two youngest children, a son and a daughter, who lay in graves far from one another. He could do nothing about that. Just as he could do nothing about the injustice. He must harden himself to the pain, must keep always before him the memory of his two sons who still lived—Alan, who was lost, separated from his loved ones, and Kenneth, who was his companion on this trek to find Alan. Michel’s other family members, his father and his brother Niall, had crossed the big river, and he prayed they were safe on the other side.

As he said a silent ‘amen,’ his stomach rumbled, and he wished he had something to quiet it, even though he was certain the sound wouldn’t carry far enough to betray his presence to the men who’d passed. He hoped Kenneth had heard the horses in time to take cover.

He bowed his head again and prayed for Creator to watch over his two sons, to keep them both safe.

He wiped trickling sweat before it reached his eyes and brushed at the gnats that buzzed about his head while he strained to hear some small sound announcing Kenneth’s approach. Time dragged as the sun lowered toward the horizon, shooting golden rays through gaps in the branches. Kenneth should have reached him by now.

And, with no warning, there he was, his dirt-streaked face solemn. Thinner than it used to be, as was his body. Michel was thankful the boy’s clothing hid the sharp angles of his gaunt frame.

“We will eat tonight,” Kenneth whispered, breaking into a grin as he held up a worn leather bag. “Look.” He pulled out a cloth-wrapped bundle and laid it on the ground. “And there’s more.”

“Where did you get that?”

Kenneth’s gaze dropped from his father’s piercing stare as the smile fell away from his lips. He didn’t answer as he unfolded the cloth and revealed a couple of chunks of hardtack that were discolored with soaked-in grease from the slabs of cold, cooked meat they were packaged with. He licked his lips.

“You stole it.”

“The soldiers have more. They won’t miss this one bag.” Kenneth’s eyes flashed a challenge as his gaze met his father’s. “If we don’t eat soon—” He broke off and grunted. “We’ll never make it back to Ayadoliama. Besides, we’ve only made it this far by taking food from farms along the way.”

“But it’s different collecting eggs from under a hen or gathering food that grew up out of the ground. Things Creator provided. This meat…you took it from someone. And you took his pouch.” Michel laid defeated hands on his knees. “If we desert Creator and forsake His ways, we might as well not make the effort to reach our home.”

“You’d leave Alan there? Alone? Among those…those…” Kenneth’s face twisted into a sneer that expressed the thoughts he couldn’t voice–disdain and hatred of the interlopers who’d stolen Cherokee lands and homes clearly displayed on his face.

“You know I would never desert him. Just as I would never leave you, uwetsi.”

“Then eat.” Kenneth held out a piece of meat. “Creator provided this food because we are hungry and we need it. Do you think I could have taken it if He hadn’t helped me?”

No further argument came to Michel’s lips. His shoulders sagged as he took the morsel, bit off a chunk and chewed. Kenneth was right. How was taking this meat any different from taking food from farmers along the way?
rem:  Wow! I was right there. What is one take-away from your book(s) that you hope readers identify with?

TOMMIE:  I don’t know that I would say “identify with,” but what I hope readers take away is that we are not always told the truth about what happened in the past, and the best way to get a clear idea of it is to research, read writings from that time rather than to accept pronouncements of today’s “historians.”

rem:  So true, Tommie, especially now. Where can we find you online?






rem:  Anything you’d like to add?

TOMMIE:  Thank you so much for your invitation to connect with your readers. I’ve enjoyed it.

rem:  My pleasure. Glad to have you here today.


“Only the brave dare step into her world to listen. And sometimes, the voices still whisper…”



#Blogwords, Chat Thursday, Author Interview, Tommie Lyn, Cherokee Nation, High on a Mountain, Deep in the Valley, Across the Wide River, On the Red Clay Hills


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            “So many secrets that had been hidden for so long, and now they all seemed to be unraveling. And for whatever reason, they seemed to land at my feet.”




            “What was at stake, really? When we were girls our mysteries were made up. There were no real dead—or missing—bodies. No mysterious wealth suddenly appeared save in our imaginations. Leaves and bird feathers and pretty stones do not real wealth make.



rem:  Bonjour, Madame, bienvenue. It’s lovely to chat with you today.

MERCEDES:  blushes Bonjour, it is my honor to chat with you.

rem:  Congratulations on your new little one.

MERCEDES:  Merci. Would you like to hold her?

rem:  Would I? reaches for le bébé, Simmie gurgles and coos

MERCEDES:  smiles

rem:  Yes, now, you were born and raised on Saisons Plantation, n’est-ce pas? She’s beautiful by the way.

MERCEDES:  Merci. And oui, I have lived there my whole life.

rem:  Your friend, Simone, was missing for many years.


rem:  Why did she come to you?

MERCEDES:  I was the detective when we were girls.

rem:  Detective?

MERCEDES:  laughs I enjoy reading, most especially detective stories.

rem:  I see. And why would Simone need your, uh, services?

MERCEDES:  There were suspicious circumstances surrounding her disappearance.

rem:  I understand she lost her memory also.

MERCEDES:  She did, but not total loss. She remembers some things, others she struggles with.

rem:  And you’re helping her with that.


rem:  You are a true friend.

MERCEDES:  smiles

rem:  Madame Eléanore did not like you when she first came. Why was that?

MERCEDES:  I’ve wondered that so many times, Madame. She wasn’t so… disdainful on her visits before. pauses Before I think she hardly noticed me.

rem:  Her attitude changed though. How did that happen?

MERCEDES:  shrugs Truly, I can’t imagine what she was thinking. Her doggie, Nanette, got loose and was running toward the paddock and river.

rem:  And you rescued her, n’est-ce pas?

MERCEDES:  I grabbed her as she was running past me. Truly, it was coincidence.

rem:  But Madame softened toward you after. How was she different?

MERCEDES:  She invited me to tea, and to dinner. With the family.

rem:  Most unusual.

MERCEDES:  Indeed. Then she bought me a dress—and one for Simmie. She came and visited with me while I was a-bed, and talked with of how it is being a lady.

rem:  And how did that make you feel?

MERCEDES:  Oh, Madame—

rem:  Please call me Robin.

MERCEDES:  Très bien… Robin. It made me feel uncomfortable, the things she was saying to me. She was talking to me as a lady not a servant.

rem:  But you’ve been a servant all your life.

MERCEDES:  It’s all I’ve ever known.

rem:  And now?

MERCEDES:  And now, mon cher, I think we must tell no more, or we shall tell the whole story.

rem: Mercedes, I do believe you’re right. Madame, I thank you for chatting with me today on my blog today.

MERCEDES:  It has been mon plaisir to chat on your… blog. I thank you, mon cher Robin for inviting to me. And for all you do for me. winks



            “I’m no lady, Tante. A piece of paper does not make it so.”

            “Non, the paper, non. But notre Dieu, He does. He sees you as a lady, indeed as royalty. Did not He make the way for you to belong to Him? If notre Dieu believes you are royalty, who can say otherwise?”












#Blogwords, Chat Thursday, The Long Shadows of Summer, Seasons Series, Character Interview, Mercedes Renaldi

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            “Eléanore paraded around the house, through every room, giving the white glove test to every surface. She turned to me every three minutes and announced that this mantel or that étagère needed to be dusted and polished. No matter that Dovie dusted and polished every wood surface every Tuesday afternoon. I added each soiled item to my growing list of grievances.”


            “What are you doing to mes chiens?” Madame Eléanore was near hysteria, her own gravelly voice a keening pitch to match that of her dreadful dogs.

            I forced my own body from my bed and came to Mikal’s side.

            Madame had lifted her canine poofs and clutched them to her side. “You’ll answer to Monsieur for this.”


rem:  Bonjour, Madame, bienvenue. It’s lovely to chat with you today.

MADAME ELÉANORE:  Bonjour, it is my honor to chat with you.

rem:  You don’t live at Saisons, correct?

MADAME ELÉANORE:  Non, I am from Nimes.

rem:  You visit Saisons often though, don’t you?

MADAME ELÉANORE:  Oh oui. I am here whenever I can make the journey.

rem:  You had plans to travel earlier in the year. What made you delay your trip?

MADAME ELÉANORE:  I received the news of that tragic accident of the Titanic. My sister sent me word that she feared for me if I traveled again. I wrote her back and reminded her all the times I have sailed from France to America, and from America to France, and no harm has ever  come to me.

rem:  You have four sisters, n’es-ce pas?

MADAME ELÉANORE:  Oui. I am the eldest.

rem:  You were all born in Saisons, correct?

MADAME ELÉANORE:  Oh, non, Madame. Our home is in Nimes. We visited here many times as young girls. Only Antoinette and Marguerite found the love here and married.

rem:  When you arrived, you seemed… brusque and surly, condescending even.

MADAME ELÉANORE:  I am accustomed to things the way I like, oui. Mon cherie niece, Vivienne, she is more modern. She does not hold to the high standards, the established traditions.

rem:  But Saisons Plantation is very successful.

MADAME ELÉANORE:  purses mouth, nods Yes, well…

rem:  You were particularly hostile towards Mercedes. Why was that?

MADAME ELÉANORE:  Madame, I was not hostile. I am a lady, I am gracious to all.

rem:  But Mercedes…

MADAME ELÉANORE:  She was presumptuous and familiar, forgetting her place.

rem:  raises eyebrows

MADAME ELÉANORE:  Très bien. She was… she bore herself not as a servant. She carried herself as… as regal. She was a servant, and her behavior was not fitting for her station.

rem:  I think perhaps you mean confidence.


rem:  What changed your… feelings toward her.

MADAME ELÉANORE:  Mon chiens, my doggies. She rescued mon cher Nanette. She was… She knew how I thought of her, and yet she did not let mon cher escape. What I thought was presumption, I see now as character and integrity.

rem:  You formed quite a lovely friendship after that, n’es-ce pas?

MADAME ELÉANORE:  Oh, oui. She is a delight to me. And her little one, Nellie—how you say, I could eat her up! She is mon coeur, my heart.

rem:  I suppose we won’t tell our readers today your hand in Mercedes’ new station.

MADAME ELÉANORE:  smirks Non, Madame, we must leave that to read in the book you have made.

rem:  Madame—

MADAME ELÉANORE:  Non. You must call me Tante.

rem:  Tante, I thank you for visiting my blog today.

MADAME ELÉANORE:  It has been mon plaisir to be at your… blog. I thank you, mon cher Robin for inviting to me.










            “I’m no lady, Tante. A piece of paper does not make it so.”

            “Non, the paper, non. But notre Dieu, He does. He sees you as a lady, indeed as royalty. Did not He make the way for you to belong to Him? If notre Dieu believes you are royalty, who can say otherwise?”



#Blogwords, Chat Thursday, The Long Shadows of Summer, Seasons Series, Character Interview, Tante Eléanore-Franois Bouvier

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“Vivi had draped herself across the chaise longue, her lacy coverlet laid loosely about her. I wondered had Edna had done this before she left. I stirred and tried to sit, but found myself quite weak, my head yet swimming. I had rustled the covers, though, and the whispered sound apparently woke Vivienne for she sat up just then.”


“Vivienne was nothing but kind and gracious, and served me quite flawlessly. Grier made biscuits, especially for me, Vivi told me. There was ham and scrambled eggs and fresh peaches and cream. There was fresh churned butter and honey from the beehive for the biscuits. And glorious coffee.”


rem:  Bonjour, Madame, bienvenue. It’s lovely to chat with you today.

VIVIENNE:  Bonjour, Robin. I believe it totally fitting for you to address me by my given name. You did give it to me, after all.

rem:  You grew up on Saisons Plantation. Tell us what that was like.

VIVIENNE:  Oh my goodness. I was born the year after the war started. My first memory is Papá announcing freedom to all the Negroes. He gathered us all under the great oak tree—the one with the swing now—and told them that any who wished were free to go.

rem:  What a poignant moment.

VIVIENNE:  Oh, it was indeed.

rem:  What a tremendous thing your father did. I’m sure they were grateful for their freedom.

VIVIENNE:  smiles They were, Robin. But none of them left Saisons. They all stayed with us and were paid servants instead.

rem:  I recall how benevolent your papá was.

VIVIENNE:  He was kind to all.

rem:  You and your husband run the plantation now, correct?

VIVIENNE:  Henry has a passion for the tea and rice.

rem:  You have a special blend of tea. How did that come about?

VIVIENNE:  laughs When Eti and Gérard and I were small, we were playing at making tea, using pecans.

rem:  How inventive you were.

VIVIENNE:  We were small. We used what we could. laughs We also made pies from mud.

rem:  Who’s idea was it to use pecans?

VIVIENNE:  sighs Eti’s. She always was most inventive.

rem:  I understand you and she were close.


rem:  Can you tell me about her.

VIVIENNE:  hesitates, takes deep breath She was a ray of sunshine, a bundle of joy. No one didn’t love her.

rem:  You had the same birthday didn’t you?

VIVIENNE:  smiles Yes. She arrived the day I turned three. Just months before the war ended.

rem:  She followed after you wherever you went.

VIVIENNE:  And mimicked everything I ever did.

rem:  Was that annoying to you?

VIVIENNE:  Mercy, no. I delighted in it.

rem:  pause She died a very tragic death. Can you tell us what happened?

VIVIENNE:  She was pushed. We all knew it. She was in her wheelchair, and fell from the balcony outside her rooms. She couldn’t even stand—she was yet recovering from another fall.

rem:  Also not an accident, correct?

VIVIENNE:  Suzi was so tiny but she saw… She didn’t know who it was, and couldn’t describe very well.

rem:  You knew who it was though, didn’t you?

VIVIENNE:  Yes. We all knew. It was Lissette Fontaine.

rem:  Vivienne, I’m so sorry.

VIVIENNE:  Thank you. Please forgive my temper. After all this time… I forgave the woman, but it still pains me.


rem:  You raised her girls, didn’t you?

VIVIENNE:  loud sigh Yes, I did. They were a delight.

rem:  Where was their papá, Monsieur Rowan?

VIVIENNE:  closes eyes She seduced him. And then ran off—and took our dear Simone.

rem:  Dear Vivienne, you have suffered great loss.

VIVIENNE:  We all did. Violet stopped talking, Suzi became most belligerent. They both had nightmares. pauses We adjusted, though. They are now delightful young women.

rem:  A change for you, I’m sure, after raising three boys.

VIVIENNE:  laughs Most certainly different.

rem:  Vivienne, I thank you for chatting with me today. My condolences on your losses.

VIVIENNE:  I thank you, Robin. And it has been my pleasure.









The pursed expression on Eléanore’s face was most entertaining. Clearly she viewed Violet’s mute tongue as a deficiency, and her ability to communicate using her hands as some sort of sacrilege.

            Violet looked to Vivienne, who signed back to her that all was well, and to dismiss the vieille vache. The old cow.

            Vivienne smiled quite demurely, laughing most gaily with her amber eyes. Violet smiled large and satisfied.”




#Blogwords, Chat Thursday, The Long Shadows of Summer, Seasons Series, Character Interview, Vivienne Hampton, Lissette Fontaine

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